Fact and fiction of staying in power

By The Malaysian Insider

Once again, the most “opinionated” newspaper in Malaysia has twisted facts to please its political master and ultimate owner, Umno.

Utusan Malaysia today called for leaders who have occupied top positions in their parties for too long to step down, referring specifically to PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and chairman Karpal Singh.

Writing in his Cuit column today, Utusan Malaysia assistant editor-in-chief Datuk Zaini Hassan said Malaysian politicians should heed the lesson of Egypt, where the 30-year presidency of Hosni Mubarak is under threat from public protests.

He then criticised Nik Aziz, Kit Siang and Karpal for staying on too long at the top. PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also came in for attention and was castigated for “passing down the throne” to family members.

The thing is, people are revolting against the leaders in Tunisia and Egypt not because presidents like Mubarak and his ilk have been in power for a long time. Far from it.

It is because their families and cronies have enriched themselves, were greedy, abused power and did not care an iota for the people in what are actually rich countries.

It was grab, grab and grab. Being in power for a long time was not the issue.

But it would have been asking too much for Zaini and his comrades at Utusan to read a situation clearly. That would have been asking them to break new ground and go into unfamiliar territory, although he did hint of a similar Barisan Nasional (BN) leader in Malaysia.

If the Umno mouthpiece really wants to help the party and the Barisan Nasional government, it should crystallise the issues that have rocked the North African and Arab world.

And that is endemic corruption by those in power and their family and cronies. It only happens in some countries in the Middle East while others have devolved power and also ensured their citizens get their share of the economic cake.